If you are looking for things to do with kids in New Orleans, we have compiled dozens of ideas over the years. However, sometimes it is nice to get away from New Orleans for a few hours and experience something new! We highly recommend taking your kids to an LSU Gymnastics meet for an electric atmosphere and world class gymnastics.
LSU Gymnastics Meets :: Worth the Drive From New Orleans
It’s no secret that LSU sporting events are wildly popular, and most New Orleanians have probably attended an LSU football game at Tiger Stadium. Heck, I am pretty sure that all of Louisiana was cheering for the Bengals during the playoffs because of their strong player ties to LSU, and it was close to impossible to get a Joe Burrow jersey during the holidays! Of course, LSU baseball and basketball games are also typically very well-attended. However, I am here to specifically encourage you to head to Baton Rouge to support LSU gymnastics and attend an LSU gymnastics meet.
It’s not that the PMAC is empty during an LSU gymnastics meet; it most certainly isn’t. (By the way, PMAC is short for Pete Maravich Assembly Center, aka where LSU gymnastics meets take place). In fact, in recent seasons the gymnastics team has drawn record-breaking crowds, sometimes eclipsing 10,000 spectators. At the same time, I am venturing to guess that unless you’re the mom of a gymnast or just really love LSU sports, this is probably not on your radar as a fun outing from New Orleans. But it should be, and here’s why.
An LSU gymnastics meet is affordable family fun. While you can purchase season tickets, that’s certainly not necessary. Putting out a quick all call on your own social media may yield you a season ticket holder who isn’t planning to use their tickets for a specific meet! However, if that approach doesn’t pan out, you can purchase individual meet tickets, typically for $7 – $12. These seats WILL be higher up, but it really doesn’t matter. You can still see all of the action. Our family really enjoys Chimes, so you can plan to grab a pretty affordable and yummy dinner at the edge of campus and then walk over to the arena across from Tiger Stadium. Concessions are available at the PMAC if you prefer.
The atmosphere is absolutely electric! This is LSU sports after all, so all of the buzz and excitement that you may expect from LSU is absolutely included. We recommend arriving about an hour before the meet starts so that you can enjoy the warm ups. The music, energy and excitement is palpable in the air throughout the duration of the event, so kids of all ages – regardless of their interest in the sport – are truly guaranteed to have a great time. People are decked out in their purple and gold, the cheerleaders are present and it’s just overall a very fun atmosphere that is kid-friendly. It would be hard not to have a good time at an LSU gymnastics meet.
It’s also incredibly refreshing to see women’s sports celebrated and supported in the same way that often happens for the men’s teams. In general, there is not a lot of equity when it comes to broadcasting, financial support and attendance levels when comparing men’s and women’s sports. It is nice to be in an environment where both my daughters and son can witness incredible female athletes doing what they love with great success. These gymnasts practice as hard as the football team but in general may not be household names (although, in my own opinion they absolutely should be). It’s lovely to see their hard work and dedication fiercely supported with the same passion that many people have for football season. It’s downright fun to be part of!
Of course, it goes without saying that NCAA gymnasts are extremely talented. If you get excited about watching gymnastics when it’s Simone Biles or Suni Lee, guess what? You can expect similar caliber competition at an LSU gymnastics meet. In fact, Suni Lee actually earned a perfect 10 while competing in the PMAC this season. All of this to say that LSU gymnastics meets are like the big show we wait for every four years, only far more affordable and accessible than traveling to a foreign country to watch. The routines are exceptional, flawless and awe inspiring. Moreover, the meet moves pretty fast so there is not a lot of downtime without entertainment.
If you are looking for a family outing that is a little different than your usual routine, give an LSU gymnastics meet a chance. It is a family-friendly outing that is worth the drive from New Orleans. All three of our children loved it, including our 11 year old son. There is free parking near the PMAC, and as you’d expect, it is slightly wiser to park further out and walk so as to avoid traffic leaving after the meet.
What to Know Before You Attend an LSU Gymnastics Meet
- The gymnastics season runs January – April, with a handful of home meets and a few “away” meets as well. The season culminates with the SEC Championships, ideally followed by the NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship
- You can purchase tickets online, either for the season or for an individual meet
- Meets are kid-friendly; they last approximately two hours. The PMAC is not particularly stroller friendly, so we recommend baby-wearing for the youngsters. All children aged 3 or older need a ticket to attend.
- We recommend arriving an hour early to watch warm ups and get comfortable in your seats
- There is a clear bag policy at these meets; pack accordingly (yes, this applies to diaper bags, too!)
- You can absolutely make the trip to and from Baton Rouge without spending the night, though you could also turn it into a one night getaway. LSU’s campus is only a few miles from downtown Baton Rouge, which has several hotels to choose from
- There is FREE parking near the PMAC, outlined on the website
- The concession stands accept credit cards
- The LSU campus is easy to navigate in terms of paved sidewalks, clear crosswalks and lighting. It is manageable to walk with children from the parking lots to the PMAC, as well as to dinner. We strongly advise using the crosswalks as intended for safety. Within walking distance of the PMAC are several restaurants, including The Chimes, Five Guys, Buffalo Wild Wings, Torchy’s Tacos, Fat Boy’s Pizza, Frutta Bowl and Rock Paper Taco
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